Cork City FC has appointed its first ever Football & Social Responsibility Officer who will design and implement programmes to make football more inclusive for everyone, and help the club enhance its impact on the local community and wider society.
Conor McKahey has taken on the new role, which is part-funded by the Department of Health through the Healthy Ireland fund and has been introduced in a number of League of Ireland clubs around the country. Conor is currently living in Clonakilty after spending a number of years in Wales where he worked in a similar position with Cardiff City FC and Football Association of Wales.
The FSR Officer will be working with groups who may not have easy access to football including those with a disability, schools in disadvantaged areas and pensioners. Cork City FC is currently working on a number of programmes to be rolled out across the city and county including a football numeracy programme which will see Conor visit schools and use football scenarios as a way of teaching mathematics to children.
Another programme called Walking Football is aimed at older people who have an interest in playing the game. The club is also working on a programme called Monday Morning Memories which will welcome people who may feel isolated and alone or those who simply want to come together on a Monday and share football memories while enjoying tea, biscuits and social interactions.
Speaking about his new role, Conor said: “Not everyone is going to be a professional footballer but everyone should be able to enjoy the game and the benefits it brings to a person’s physical and mental health as well as the social interactivity both on and off the pitch. I worked with various different groups during my time with Cardiff City and Football Association of Wales and I witnessed first hand the benefits of these programmes. Within a matter of weeks, people were improving their technical skills but also their social skills as they grew more confident in themselves and were able to share their experiences with others from similar situations.”
Cork City FC’s new FSR Officer will also be responsible for helping to further develop the club’s role in the wider Cork community. Chief Operating Officer Éanna Buckley is welcoming the new addition to the club; “It’s great to see that Cork City FC is one of the clubs working with the FAI on this initiative in conjunction with Healthy Ireland which ensures that football is implementing social responsibility policies in line with other businesses. We are delighted to welcome Conor to Cork City FC. He brings a wealth of experience to the position and we look forward to seeing the benefits it has for those who participate in the programmes over the coming months, as he works alongside Erika Ní Thuama to grow our community outreach.”
Conor has an Msc in Performance Coaching and has a UEFA B Licence for football coaching. While doing his Masters, he spent a number of summers on the east coast of the US coaching football with clubs, residential camps and regular summer camps.